Denver PR Blog

Joanne Ostrow Giveth, and Taketh Away
May 5, 2014, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, KUSA

Following her puff piece on 9News Vice President of News Patti Dennis last month, Denver Post media critic Joanne Ostrow went completely the other direction today when she called out 9News photojournalist Brian Willie for his conflict of interest in serving as a family spokesman in an incident 9News was actively covering. Her lede:

Question: According to journalism ethics, when is it proper for a TV station employee to serve as a spokesperson on a news story the TV station is covering?

Answer: After that employee leaves the media job.

Great Moments in Journalism
April 11, 2014, 9:44 am
Filed under: Denver Post

A day after CBS announces that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show, Denver Post editors run a story wondering who will replace David Letterman.

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 10.01.01 AM

Post Signs Content-Sharing Agreement with 7News
June 28, 2013, 9:35 am
Filed under: Denver Post, TV News

A month after its news-sharing partnership deal with 9News ended, The Denver Post has inked a similar deal with 7News. Joanne Ostrow has the details.

Free PR Tip
April 9, 2013, 8:42 am
Filed under: Denver Post, Public Relations

Here’s a lesson for aspiring PR professionals that they don’t teach you in college: Don’t send confidential emails to public officials who are subject to open-records requests (or this might happen). And maybe think twice about using an attorney who doesn’t already understand this.

MDEDC’s Clark Named Denver Post’s ‘Business Person of the Year’
December 23, 2012, 5:45 pm
Filed under: Denver, Denver Post

Congratulations to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. CEO Tom Clark, who was named The Denver Post’s 2012 Business Person of the Year.

“Colorado’s biggest economic development deals of the year carry a common, if not glaringly noticeable, element. They benefited from the Tom Clark touch. … He has been a key player in virtually every major business relocation and expansion along the Front Range since landing a job with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in 1985.”


10 Questions with … The Denver Post’s Curtis Hubbard
November 14, 2012, 8:30 am
Filed under: 10 Questions, Denver Post, Politics

Curtis Hubbard, the editorial page editor at The Denver Post, had his hands full this election season.

In addition to the usual activities of sifting through inflammatory letters to the editor and meeting with local politicians seeking the paper’s endorsement, he had to contend with a minor controversy over whether U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman plagiarized material used in an OpEd.

Now that the election has passed, Hubbard agreed to answer some questions about the plagiarism accusations, as well as a few other issues relevant to the public relations industry.

Q: As a result of the issue with Rep. Coffman’s opinion column, you have implemented new policies to ensure that material The Denver Post publishes is “original work.” What are those new policies, and how do they differ from previous policies?  

A: As I told (The Denver Post reporter) Kurtis Lee for his story, we’ve always operated with the understanding that the work people submit is their own. There was a similar issue with Rep. Scott McInnis and op-eds he penned for The Denver Post under previous editors, so I decided that we would spell it to eliminate any confusion.  We have posted the policy online and are in the process of creating a form in which contributors acknowledge that, to the best of their knowledge, the work they are submitting is their own (if that sounds a lot like the Honor Code at Colorado College, it’s probably because two brothers and my best friend went there).

Q: Lee reported that, “Ethics experts contacted by The Post said the duplicative writings fall short of their definition of plagiarism. But they said Coffman’s use of material by other writers failed to reach accepted standards for attribution.” What conclusion did you reach as the editorial page editor?

A: The “cut” and “paste” functions on computers and political “messaging” operations can be dangerous.

Q: What, if any, conversations did you have with Rep. Coffman or his office once it was determined that the material had appeared other places under the bylines of other individuals?

A: I haven’t had any conversations with him. I expect we will the next time he offers a piece. We’ve always had a a cordial professional relationship, and I don’t expect this episode to change that fact.

Q: It is a common practice in public relations to ghostwrite material for clients. What is your opinion about that practice?  Continue reading

Denver Post Comment of the Week
October 31, 2012, 7:48 am
Filed under: Denver Post, SE2

In response to a thoughtful Denver Post column by SE2′s Abigail Kesner on the lack of civility in today’s political environment.

How is The Denver Post Doing?
October 30, 2012, 9:46 am
Filed under: Denver Post

It all depends on whether it can monetize its “digital” readers. The latest Audit Bureau of Circulations numbers were released today, and over the past year The Denver Post has lost another 12.6 percent of its print subscribers. However, digital subscribers nearly doubled, allowing the Post to claim strong overall circulation growth.

At this rate, The Denver Post will have more digital subscribers than print subscribers by the next ABC reporting date in March 2013.

Great Moments in Journalism XLVIII
July 30, 2012, 11:55 am
Filed under: Denver Post, Social Media

Denver Post sportswriter John Henderson explains to Westword’s Michael Roberts what caused him to accidentally Tweet:

Coffman Ignores 9News, Turns to Post for Redemption Tour
May 28, 2012, 9:30 am
Filed under: Denver Post, KUSA

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s redemption tour continues in The Denver Post. Following his mea culpa Op-Ed Wednesday, the Post’s lead editorial Sunday lauds Coffman and fellow U.S. Rep. Jared Polis for their bipartisan approach to defense budget cuts. 9News’ Kyle Clark can’t be happy that he is being squeezed out of a story that 9News broke and he made national.

Three More Reporters to Leave Denver Post
May 18, 2012, 9:48 am
Filed under: Denver Post

Michael Roberts at Westword has identified Denver Post reporters Ann Schrader, Margaret Jackson and Felisa Cardona as the latest three to accept buy-outs from the paper.

Yet Another High-profile Denver Post Departure
May 15, 2012, 10:06 am
Filed under: Denver Post

In the newspaper game, being a polarizing figure is about as good as it gets. Having people love you and love to hate you means that just about everyone is reading you. And at the end of the day, that is what drives newspaper subscriptions. Which is why I was sad to see columnist Tina Griego today join past lightning rods Penny Parker and Mike Littwin as the most recent Denver Post staff members to leave the paper.

So how long can the Denver Post survive while jettisoning its most interesting, engaging, loved and hated personalities? Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to find out.

Great Moments in Denial
May 1, 2012, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Denver Post

The Denver Post takes a pretty damn rosy view of its circulation numbers for a paper about to lay off two-thirds of its copyediting staff. The Post’s own 14-paragraph article reports the changes in the paper’s website hits, its online e-version, and its Facebook and Twitter followers, bit conspicuously absent are any numbers about the paper’s print circulation change. And given that advertisers typically pay a newspaper’s bills, that is an ominous sign.

The paper reported 250,200 print subscribers for the period ending March 31, which appears to be about a 25 percent drop from a year ago. But it also reported 150,000 digital subscribers. As usual, I’m waiting for Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal or Michael Roberts at Westword to connect to connect the dots.

Denver Post Lays Off Penny Parker, Perhaps Mike Littwin
March 21, 2012, 6:27 am
Filed under: Denver Post

Denver Post business/gossip columnist Penny Parker confirmed via Twitter that she was laid off yesterday, and rumors have columnist Mike Littwin also on the chopping block. Michael Roberts at Westword has some of the details.

MediaNews Group Outsourcing Boulder County Jobs

Denver Post publisher MediaNews Group is laying off 17 employees as part of an outsourcing strategy, according to the Denver Business Journal. The employees are part of MediaNews’ Prairie Mountain Publishing Co. division that publishes  the Boulder Daily Camera and Longmont Times-Call. The 17 positions are mostly advertising design and production positions that apparently will be moved off-shore to India and the Philippines.

Why a Denver Post Paywall is Coming …
February 7, 2012, 11:41 am
Filed under: Denver Business Journal, Denver Post

Print circulation at The Denver Post continues to fall, and web traffic continues to increase, according to the Denver Business Journal. The specifics:

  • Average weekday print circulation at the Post is down nearly 7 percent from the same period the prior year
  • Saturday print circulation is down more than 10 percent from the prior year
  • Sunday print circulation is down more than 5 percent from the prior year
  • Web traffic is up 9 percent from the prior year

Krieger Departs Post for 850 KOA
January 6, 2012, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, KOA, Rocky Mountain News

Denver Post sports columnist Dave Krieger is leaving to join 850 KOA’s afternoon sports show. Krieger was one of a handful of Rocky Mountain News staffers who were picked up by the Post after the Rocky folded.

Arellano Replaces McMillan as Post Business Editor
December 7, 2011, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Denver Post

The fallout continues over at the Denver Post following last week’s news about 19 staffers accepting buyout offers. Today, Michael Roberts at Westword reports that the Post has announced internally a number of new assignments, and one surprising one is that Steve McMillan is out as business editor, replaced by deputy business editor Kristi Arellano. You can read the rest of the changes at Westword’s “Latest Word” blog.

Denver Post Buyout Update
November 30, 2011, 8:40 am
Filed under: Denver Post

The list of Denver Post employees who have accepted the paper’s buyout offer has started to trickle out is out:

  • Religion reporter (and obituary specialist) Virginia Culver
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe
  • Gossip columnist Bill Husted
  • Managing editor Jeanette Chavez
  • Theater critic John Moore
  • Fina arts critic Kyle MacMillan
  • Librarian Jan Torpy
  • Don Russell
  • Lifestyles reporter Sheba Wheeler
  • Sportswriter Natalie Meisler
  • Senior editorial assistant Pete Names
  • Designer Jackie Feldman
  • Information graphic designer Jonathan Moreno
  • Copy desk chief Joe Hudson
  • Robert Smith
  • Feature design director Jim Carr
  • Denver Newspaper Agency (reprints) Joyce Anderson
  • Photographer John Prieto
  • Reporter Jeff Leib
Update: The Denver Business Journal reports that 19 Denver Post staffers accepted a buyout.

Update II: Michael Roberts at Westword has the complete list of the 19 staffers who are leaving, and offers some perspective on what their departures might mean for the Post.

Denver Post Says Goodbye to Pulitzer Prize-Winning Cartoonist
November 28, 2011, 8:40 am
Filed under: Denver Post

Denver Post editorial page editor Curtis Hubbard offers his farewell to Mike Keefe, the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist who, after 36 years and more than 8,000 cartoons with the paper, accepted a buyout.

Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics
November 28, 2011, 8:35 am
Filed under: Denver Post, Economic News

The Denver Post has crunched the (Arizona Republic’s) numbers, and only Austin, Texas, ranks better than Denver among peer cities when it comes to economic indicators. So if you feel like we are in a recession, it must be your imagination.

Another Sad Reality of Fewer Column Inches
November 28, 2011, 8:20 am
Filed under: Denver Post, Obit

One of the sad realities of newspapers continually cutting back the column inches they publish every day is the loss of some of the traditional services they provided, including obituaries. Many of you may know Don Shook, who prior to moving to Las Vegas spent 27 years in Denver with Channel 4, Coors and the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office. His wife, Maggie, passed away last month and Don was shocked to find that the Post wanted $1,600 to publish her obituary. Don fired off the letter below to the Post, but has yet to see it published or receive a response.

Dear Editor:

My wife of 37 years just got her dying wish, thanks to The Denver Post.  Maggie passed away last week in our Las Vegas home after many years of pain and suffering. She made it absolutely clear that she wanted NO obituary notices; however, after 25 years of living in Golden, I was willing to risk her wrath on “the other shore” to share news of her passing with our considerable number of friends along the Front Range. She will indeed get her wish regarding your newspaper.

I built a modest obituary into the paper’s template, along with a recent photo that captures her nicely.  To run it three days would be just under $1,600.  Does The Denver Post expect me to singlehandedly save the organization from financial doom? With the recent news of yet morestaff reductions being sought, is the newspaper hoping to stave off closure of its daily publication by capitalizing on people at such a moment of profound grief?

Given your apparent lack of feeling for the community you purport to serve, perhaps the time may come when we all read of the Post’s own obituary. For the sake of your many fine employees, I hope not.

Donald Shook

There will be a memorial for Maggie next summer in Golden. If you are interested in reconnecting with Don, you can reach him through his PR firm in Las Vegas.

Denver Post Sponsors ‘Top Workplaces’ Award
October 3, 2011, 11:54 am
Filed under: Awards, Denver Post

It looks like the Denver Business Journal is getting a little competition in the awards department – the Denver Post has partnered with WorkplaceDynamics for the 2012 Top Workplaces Award. Nominations are due October 28. According to Denver Post Business Editor Steve McMillan:

“The Denver area has a dynamic business environment with companies that have great stories to tell. We look forward to highlighting the metro area’s top employers and how they foster employee satisfaction.”

In Memoriam
June 26, 2011, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, Obit

Pulitzer Prize winner and former Denver Post editor Gil Spencer passed away Friday. He was 85.

The Consequences of a One-Newspaper Town
June 14, 2011, 8:47 am
Filed under: Denver Post, Politics, Rocky Mountain News

I don’t know newly elected Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and I don’t know whether the allegations of his involvement with prostitutes are true. But I do know this: if the Rocky Mountain News were still here, we would have gotten to the bottom of the story much faster. I love the Denver Post, but I love a Denver Post being pushed by a competing Rocky Mountain News even more.

Denver Post ‘Breaking News’ Headline of the Day
March 17, 2011, 10:10 am
Filed under: Denver Post

(Colorado) Springs boy finds pet chickens mutilated.” Welcome to Mayberry.

Singleton Relinquishes CEO Title at MediaNews Group
January 18, 2011, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Denver Post

MediaNews Group’s William Dean Singleton announced he will step down as CEO but remain as executive chairman. MediaNews Group owns dozens of newspapers, including the Denver Post.

PR Quote of the Week
January 18, 2011, 9:00 am
Filed under: Denver Post

Courtesy of this morning’s Denver Post (Nation & World Briefs, Page 4A):

“Republicans immediately disparaged the analysis as ‘public relations’.”

SE2′s Next Goal: OpEd Pieces in the Coupons
January 13, 2011, 11:38 am
Filed under: Denver Post

SE2 has unceremoniously (or maybe ceremoniously – it’s hard to tell) deflowered the Denver Post’s editorial section.

PR Quote of the Week
January 11, 2011, 8:30 am
Filed under: Denver Post

In honor of Penny Parker, here is the Denver PR Blog “Eavesdropping” bit of the week:

“Be prepared for a constant barrage of flip remarks and undying skepticism.  We’ll all wonder why we even considered running this gauntlet.  And our clients will ask – ‘What were you thinking?’ ”

– An anonymous pro-business Denver PR practitioner discussing Denver Post columnist Mike Littwin’s appointment to the paper’s editorial board.

CU Hospital’s Schroffel Named Business Person of the Year
December 20, 2010, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Denver Post

Congratulations to University of Colorado Hospital CEO (and Dovetail Solutions client) Bruce Schroffel, who was named the Denver Post’s 2010 Business Person of the Year.

Catfight Alert: vs. a Bunch of Newspapers
July 7, 2010, 10:38 am
Filed under: Denver Post, MediaNews Group, Politics

A slew of Colorado Newspapers – the Denver Post, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Greeley Tribune and the Boulder Daily Camera among them – are accusing the political website of “flagrant and persistent theft … of intellectual property.” Frankly, I was surprised that the Denver Post generates enough of its own content to make this complaint. If ColoradoPols was effectively reprinting content from the Post, I figured it would be the Associated Press that would have an issue.

Denver Post Circulation Decline Greater than National Average
April 26, 2010, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, Newspapers

The bad news for newspapers continues. The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) reports that domestic weekday newspaper circulation fell 8.7 percent over the past six months. Meanwhile, here in Colorado, the Denver Post reported a 10.2 percent weekday circulation decline over a year ago, which now puts it as the nation’s 14th largest newspaper in terms of weekday circulation.

Expect Cost-cutting to Result in More Solo TV Anchors
April 13, 2010, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, TV News

Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has seen the future of Denver television news, and it does not include co-anchors such as Karen Leigh, Libby Weaver and Mark Koebrich. Instead, expect more of the 20-20-20 rule: “Hire 20-year-olds, pay them $20,000 a year and have them work 20-hour days.”

Post’s Walker Wins Pulitzer
April 12, 2010, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Awards, Denver Post

Congratulations to Denver Post photographer Craig Walker for his Pulitzer Prize for photography. Walker was recognized for his series, “Ian Fisher: American Soldier” that chronicled 27 months in the life of soldier Ian Fisher.

Post Profiles JohnstonWells
March 25, 2010, 1:07 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, Johnston Wells

JohnstonWells was among several companies the Denver Post profiled today who use technology to help employees stay productive during snow days.

Post’s Svaldi Wins SABEW Award
March 5, 2010, 7:26 am
Filed under: Awards, Denver Post

I have been tough on Denver Post business reporter Aldo Svaldi in the past for what must be the toughest job in town – reporting on the financials of your own paper. But today Svaldi deserves congratulations for his Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for best investigative project for large publications. Svaldi, along with colleague Miles Moffeit, won for their story investigating how state and federal regulator mistakes allowed Greeley’s New Frontier Bank to fail.

Denver Post: ‘Qwest CEO blows up at question about his house’
February 16, 2010, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Denver Post

I’m all for ginning up some controversy, but the Denver Post copyeditor responsible for that headline may be trying a little too hard. How did Qwest CEO Ed Mueller actually respond when asked about whether he had sold his house in Denver:

“I think (the question is) irrelevant and … I think it’s offensive.”

Maybe the Post should send a reporter to New York to cover Alec Baldwin for a couple of weeks to get a little perspective.

So Who Won the (Advertising) Game?
February 8, 2010, 8:25 am
Filed under: Advertising, Denver Egotist, Denver Post

Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post assembled her annual Denver advertising industry panel to evaluate the creativity, originality and effectiveness of the Super Bowl ads. Meanwhile, the Denver Egotist was not impressed with what he she they it saw.

If You Plan to Pitch a Denver Post Reporter Via Phone …
January 28, 2010, 10:56 am
Filed under: Denver Post, MediaNews Group

… you might want to do it right away.

Former Rocky Editor Joins Hawaii-based News Service
January 21, 2010, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, Journalism Moves, Penny Parker, Rocky Mountain News

Former Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple will relocate to Hawaii after accepting the position as editor of Peer News, “a Honolulu-based local news service that will produce original, in-depth reporting and analysis of local issues in Hawaii.” Expect a “John Temple gets lei’d” joke in Penny Parker’s Denver Post column tomorrow.

Denver Post Owner Declares Bankruptcy

Of course, that is not exactly how Aldo Svaldi’s Denver Post article this morning described it. Before running across the word “bankruptcy” for the first time in the third paragraph, it was described as a “pact,” “deal,” “new ownership structure,” “restructuring plan” and “agreement.” Clearly there is no need to buy Svaldi a thesaurus for his birthday this year.

Of the bankruptcy agreement, Media News chairman and chief executive William Dean Singleton said, “It gives us one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry.” Sadly, he may be right.

If you are interested, the Denver Business Journal also covered the Post’s bankruptcy agreement.

Denver Post Trumpets Circulation Figures
October 26, 2009, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, Westword

The Denver Post is touting its strong circulation figures in the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation report, while Westword’s Michael Roberts digs beneath the surface to see whether the numbers are as strong as the Post claims.

Cover Shot Coverage Continues for Denver Magazine
September 1, 2009, 7:52 am
Filed under: Denver Magazine, Denver Post, Fox31

On the heels of Denver Magazine’s controversial cover shot of Fox31 anchors Libby Weaver and Natalie Tysdal, the Denver Post profiles the magazine’s CEO, publisher and editor Michael Ledwitz.

Denver Magazine’s PR Win of the Week
August 27, 2009, 3:15 pm
Filed under: Denver Magazine, Denver Post, Fox31, Westword

Denver Magazine has scored this week’s PR Win of the Week. Magazine covers are all about capturing attention, and Denver Magazine’s cover shot of Fox31 anchors Libby Weaver and Natalie Tysdal has been the talk of the town this week. Westword offers Photoshopped versions of the cover featuring various Denver duos, and Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post even weighed in on it this morning.

The Denver Post’s Fake Comics Poll
August 12, 2009, 7:56 am
Filed under: Denver Post

When I first started work at US West (or U S WEST as they required us to write it at the time), I had a co-worker who constantly complained about the office temperature being too hot. He would occasionally adjust the wall-mounted thermostat near our cubicles, but most of the time he would find it already set to the lowest temperature (from the last time he visited it).

One day, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about how offices were placing decoy thermostats that could be “controlled” by employees. The thermostats weren’t connected to anything, but they created the illusion that employees could control their environment. I showed the article to my co-worker, who immediately got up from his desk, walked over to the thermostat, pulled off one of his cowboy boots and knocked the thermostat off the wall. It was a decoy. There wasn’t even a hole in the drywall behind it – it had just been glued on.

I was reminded of that story this morning when I saw the Denver Post’s annual Comics Poll, where readers can list their most liked and most hated comic strips in an attempt to influence which comics the Post keeps. As a subscriber, the Post has my address and my phone number. If it wants a statistically valid sampling of which comics are desired and which aren’t by readers, it could do that. But it would rather create a way for all the cranks who bitch and moan about the comics to think their voices are being heard.

KMGH’s Awards Haven’t Translated to Audience Share
July 26, 2009, 1:14 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, KMGH

Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post throws a little love at the highly regarded yet lowly rated KMGH/Channel 7 news team:

“Despite having a newsroom staff 20 percent smaller than that of Channel 4 and Channel 9, and having notably less marketing muscle, Channel 7 has emerged as the station to beat in terms of content and quality.”

It Can’t Be Good When it Takes Danny Bonaduce to Make You Seem Normal
July 26, 2009, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Alice 105.9, Bill Husted, Denver Post

If you were in Denver in the late 1990s, you likely remember the train wreck that was Jamie White of Alice 105.9′s “Frosty, Frank & Jamie” morning show. So although it is not that surprising to learn that White has been charged with a felony, it is somewhat surprising that it took a decade to finally happen. Bill Husted at the Denver Post has the details.

ESPN Targets Local Sports
July 19, 2009, 7:10 pm
Filed under: Denver Post, ESPN

If the Denver Post is planning for local sports coverage to be the silver bullet that retains subscribers, then this has to be a scary thought.

Fox31 Lays Off Six More
July 10, 2009, 7:40 am
Filed under: Denver Post, Fox31, Journalism Moves, Layoffs

Meteorologist Chris Dunn and reporters Audra Ensign and Charlie Brennan were among six laid off at KDVR/Fox31 yesterday. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.


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